West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Are you the “third party” who might help finance the extra cost of running West Seattle’s light-rail line underground?
That was part of the discussion as King County Executive Dow Constantine – a member of the Sound Transit board – guested last night at the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s first meeting of 2019.
Also there, leaders from the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse, who are hoping for community support as they seek a city grant for a pedestrian-safety project on West Marginal Way SW as their headquarters gets ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary
First, the conversation with Constantine, who addressed a variety of topics, including the Viaduct-to-tunnel transition. He also noted at the start that he would be participating in the Point In Time count hours after the meeting. Then he tackled the Highway 99 transition, observing that traffic “is just atrocious” as he headed to the meeting (at Neighborhood House High Point) and that it was earlier in the day, too. As for the bright spots in the two weeks since the Viaduct’s shutdown – almost a decade after he stood with other regional leaders at the Seattle Aquarium as then-Gov. Christine Gregoire signed the tunnel-creating bill into law – he cited the Water Taxi, for one – a service he has long championed – citing its 200 percent increase in ridership these two weeks. Metro is deploying extra coaches, as we’ve noted, with C Line and E Line RapidRide services benefiting from them.
Though the federal shutdown is ending – at least temporarily – it’s still left a big and growing need for food donations, and that’s the reason a statewide food drive is kicking off tomorrow. Safeway and Albertsons stores statewide will have bins for Northwest Harvest; Admiral Safeway will host a kickoff event noon-4 pm tomorrow (Saturday), with Doug Baldwin from the Seattle Seahawks visiting at 1 pm. Donations will benefit local food banks; for Admiral Safeway, that’s West Seattle Food Bank, whose development director Judi Yazzolino explains, “Even though the government shutdown is over we will still be overwhelmed with need because everyone with SNAP benefits got them 2 weeks early and won’t get them again until Feb. 1st.” All are welcome to the event at Admiral Safeway (2622 California SW).
2:28 PM: You’re going to want to avoid I-5 in the West Seattle Bridge vicinity for a while. There’s a big vehicle fire. The bridge exit to NB I-5 is closed. One texter says it’s a “tour bus.” More to come.
2:37 PM: Added a reader photo. SB I-5 is getting by but avoiding the area in its entirety remains your best bet.
2:55 PM: Per scanner, fire is “tapped” (out) and SFD is working to make it possible for a NB I-5 lane to be opened “as soon as possible.” No reports of injuries.
3:10 PM: One lane of NB I-5 is now open.
3:33 PM: Readers report SODO surface streets are jammed as a result.
3:50 PM: 2 lanes are open now but the backup remains major.
4:14 PM: We’ll keep this going as a PM traffic update given the residual problems from the bus fire. Note for Water Taxi riders: Question on Twitter leads us to note that the Spirit of Kingston seems to be running in place of Doc Maynard right now. We’re checking to see if that’s a TFN thing.
5:28 PM: I-5 update:
#Seattle update: We still have some work to do before we reopen the right lane of northbound I-5 at the W. Seattle Bridge. Crews have to complete this cleanup and will need one of our sweeper trucks to do so. It's on the way. pic.twitter.com/hz5gjesVGT
— WSDOT Traffic (@wsdot_traffic) January 26, 2019
5:55 PM: All lanes now open again.
6:06 PM: If you’re headed up via the south, note there’s a crash at Highland Park Way/Holden (thanks, MrsL).
6:12 PM: Metro says the Route 57 scheduled to head back this way about 15 minutes ago didn’t run.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
He’s an entrepreneur, a graduate student, and now a candidate for the Seattle City Council District 1 seat: Jesse Greene plans to file paperwork today, with a public candidacy-announcement event on Monday.
The proprietor of Uncle Woody’s Popcorn is the first of this year’s D-1 candidates to contact WSB before turning up on the city/state websites showing campaign filings. We sat down for a coffeehouse chat on Thursday.
Greene is a West Seattle resident whose popcorn business is headquartered in South Park; he also owns a construction firm based in Sumner, where he grew up (though there are other local roots in his family – he mentions a grandparent who is a West Seattle High School alum). He says his entry into politics is inspired by time he has spent serving on the State Advisory Council on Homelessness – the issue that is motivating his run.
Just received from SDOT, updates on three intersections that are getting safety improvements as part of 35th Avenue SW Phase 2 (first reported here last spring) :
35th Ave SW/SW Juneau St
As soon as Monday, January 28, we will sawcut all 4 corners of the intersection, then begin drainage work on the west side of 35th Ave SW/SW Juneau St intersection, followed by installation of curb ramps. To complete work on the west side of the intersection safely and efficiently, SW Juneau St will be closed to through traffic from 35th Ave SW to 36th Ave SW. Once the west side is complete, crews will move to the east side of the intersection and follow a similar procedure.
We anticipate delivering the construction notification later today to residents near the 35th Ave SW/SW Juneau St intersection.
35th Ave SW/SW Dawson St
Last week, we completed utility potholing in the sidewalk and planter strip area to help determine the location of future signal poles at this intersection. To reach underground utilities, crews removed some concrete/asphalt in planting strips near the 35th Ave SW/SW Dawson St intersection. They then backfilled holes with pea gravel and replaced loose concrete/asphalt over the top and sectioned off the area with cones. This site will remain as-is until work to add new curb ramps, repair pavement begins as soon as February. Actual signal installation will occur this fall once we receive the necessary equipment.
This schedule is subject to change depending on weather conditions and contractor availability.
35th Ave SW/SW Kenyon St
We expect to begin similar work to install accessible curb ramps and make drainage and pavement repairs at 35th Ave SW/SW Kenyon St as early as February 2019.
If you have questions, the project inbox is NeighborhoodImprovements2018@seattle.gov.
P.S. SDOT also notes, “Folks may also notice our Pothole Rangers next week working the length of 35th Ave SW from White Center to Spokane St.” (You can report potholes online here.)
“One more week to go!” That was the theme of today’s media-briefing conference call, with the focus starting to shift one week ahead to the tunnel/viaduct celebration. But first:
CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS: Dave Sowers says WSDOT is doing two concrete pours today – the biggest is for the south embankment to the Dearborn offramp, the last major pour for roadway surfaces in #Realign99. They had hoped to finish the “dip repair” south of the tunnel yesterday but wet weather kept them from finishing that; they’ll do it Tuesday instead. North portal electrical work, signage, and “loop ramps” continue, along with “commissioning work” on both ends. Striping work is continuing on the main line, too. We asked when they’ll be able to estimate how long past the tunnel opening it’ll take to open the Dearborn exit ramp; he says there’s still a lot of work to do and they’re still on track for the “extra week to 10 days” but might have a better estimate by midweek.
WATER TAXI FOR SATURDAY 2/2 ONLY: Jeff Switzer from Metro clarified that the West Seattle Water Taxi will run from West Seattle on the Saturday of tunnel/viaduct celebration day only – the day with the biggest events – and said that day’s schedule will be available soon. The WS Water Taxi is still running triple the usual ridership, 18,844 riders through Thursday (Vashon is up 14 percent). One bus note: “Today was a reminder we’re not quite out of the woods yet” – because of train delays they’re looking at changing the paths for some south-end routes such as 113. So far “standby buses” have carried 33,572 riders, he said.
BACK TO THE CELEBRATION WEEKEND: Steve Peer from WSDOT noted that the 520 bridge party had 50,000 guests and the tunnel/viaduct weekend is trending for twice that. The Sunday 2/3 bicycle ride (fee) is sold out with 12,000 registered; the Saturday fun run (fee) has 23,000 registered; 66,000 free tickets already have been claimed for Saturday’s viaduct/tunnel access. WSDOT has published an update here with “what you should know before you come.” One big thing – take public transportation! We asked Peer a reader question about difficulty finding a remaining free-event slot to sign up for; he said there will be SOME room for walk-ups. Go to 99stepforward.com for more on the Feb. 2-3 events.
10:52 AM: Seattle Fire is sending a “rescue extrication” response to the 5400 block of West Marginal Way SW (map). It’s reported via radio communication as a car/semitruck collision with one person trapped. The northbound lanes of West Marginal are reported to be blocked.
11:05 AM: The seriously injured person in the car is reported to have been extricated.
11:16 AM: The injured man is in his 40s and the collision has been described via radio as his pickup truck rear-ending a concrete truck. He’s being taken to Harborview Medical Center.
Earlier this week, we reported that it appeared a plea bargain was in the works for Ryan Cox, the 40-year-old repeat offender who’s been in jail since his arrest for stabbing a man in Gatewood almost a year and a half ago. (Our report on the August 2017 charges details what the victim told police and what they found the night of the crime.) Today, court documents confirm a plea agreement, but with a twist: Cox has pleaded guilty to not a reduced charge, but an upgraded charge. He was originally charged with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon. The amended version of that charge to which he pleaded guilty Thursday has an additional enhancement (“aggravating circumstance” under state law), that “… the injuries of the victim of the current offense substantially exceeded the level of bodily harm necessary to satisfy the elements of the crime.” While the documents note that the “standard” sentencing range for second-degree assault is six to 12 months, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is recommending what is categorized in court documents as an “exceptional sentence” – four years in prison, plus the 12-month consecutive sentence for use of a deadly weapon. Cox’s sentencing hearing is set for two weeks from today, 1 pm Friday, February 8th, before King County Superior Court Judge Susan Amini, who has final say on the sentence.
BACKSTORY: While Cox has a long criminal history, dating back to age 17, his convictions are almost all misdemeanors, including the homophobic-graffiti vandalism that first brought him to public attention in 2009. His only felony conviction was the result of a 2013 plea bargain in an assault/malicious harassment incident in 2012. The rest of his long involvement with the criminal-justice and mental-health systems is detailed in this WSB story from the day after the 2017 stabbing.
The second post-Viaduct week is ending and the weekend’s in view. Here are highlights for the rest of your Friday:
COUNCILMEMBER MOSQUEDA IN WEST SEATTLE: (Updated time) Noon-2:30 pm, you’ll find citywide Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) for drop-in conversations, first-come first-served. (5612 California SW)
COUNCILMEMBER HERBOLD’S DISTRICT OFFICE HOURS: 2-7 pm, District 1 Councilmember Lisa Herbold has drop-in office hours at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Be there by 6:30 pm. (4217 SW Oregon)
BASKETBALL: The only home game tonight features the Seattle Lutheran High School girls vs. Forest Ridge, 6 pm. (4100 SW Genesee)
AT C & P COFFEE: Singer-songwriter Keith Howell at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. No cover. (5612 California SW)
AT THE PARLIAMENT: Live music 8 pm at Parliament Tavern – Low Hums, Time Pieces, Dumb Thumbs. 21+. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
AT THE SKYLARK: Live music with Grim Statistic, Artemis Moon, Trauma Del Rey, and Amateur Eyes. 8 pm at The Skylark, $10 cover. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
SEE WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING … by browsing our complete calendar!
5:30 AM: Good morning! No incidents or alerts in our area so far.
5:45 AM: As previewed last night, this morning brings a “pop-up” edition of Bike Everywhere Day, including a “station” under the West Seattle Bridge, 6:30-9 am. … Weather’s dry this morning and looking that way for much of the final week ahead of Highway 99-less-ness.
6 AM: Things are picking up but still no incidents.
6:03 AM: Surface Spokane train alert:
If your commute takes you on Lower Spokane St, a train is blocking the roadway between East Marginal and 1st Ave S. The estimated clearance time per @BNSFRailway is 10 – 20 mins. #SeattleSqueeze pic.twitter.com/eWxSVhAQ61
— SDOT Traffic (@SDOTtraffic) January 25, 2019
6:13 AM: Train’s clear, per SDOT.
6:32 AM: High bridge is officially in morning-backup mode. And there’s a bit of trouble on NB I-5 north of the West Seattle Bridge, disabled vehicle blocking part of a lane by Dearborn.
6:55 AM: Courtesy of Seattle Council staff, the mentioned-earlier bicycle station under the bridge:
Among those expected to stop before morning’s end, Councilmember Lorena González, riding from her home in The Junction.
7:02 AM: Late bus alert for the south end, just sent by Metro: “Route 113 to Seattle due to leave Shorewood at 6:59 AM will operate more than 30 minutes late this morning.”
7:36 AM: Busy but quiet.
7:55 AM: City-provided photo from Councilmember González’s stop at the WSBC-and-friends station under the bridge:
8:01 AM: Aside from the high bridge, no West Seattle arterials in red (jam mode) on the city map right now. Just off the peninsula, 1st Ave. S. shows slower than 4th.
8:09 AM: Texter reports (THANK YOU!) that the low bridge was just open for a few minutes – but it’s not showing on Twitter (though this webcam framegrab verifies), so we’re asking SDOT if there’s a problem.
8:29 AM: Crash on the NB 1st Avenue S. Bridge, blocking one lane.
8:45 AM: That incident has cleared.
9:16 AM: Train blockage on lower Spokane Street per SDOT: “… blocked with a stopped train between E Marginal Way and 1st Ave S.”